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Aug 14, 2023

U.D.P. Mobilizes Throngs of Supporters for Endorsement Convention

On Sunday morning in Belize City, stalwarts of the United Democratic Party descended on Youth for the Future Drive.  They came from all corners of the country and gathered at the U.D.P. secretariat where a procession of several thousand supporters made its way to Birds Isle.  The energetic throng protested against the steep cost of living, as well as crime and violence.  The endorsement convention for Party Leader Shyne Barrow and his executive, including U.D.P. Chairman Mike Peyrefitte, Vice Chairman Alberto August and deputy leaders Hugo Patt and Beverly Williams, got underway shortly before midday.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Legions of supporters from across the country gathered in Belize City on Sunday morning, where they attended an endorsement convention for the leader of the United Democratic Party and his executive.


Shyne Barrow

Shyne Barrow, Party Leader, U.D.P.

“I’m very pleased, very delighted that we’ve come out in numbers.  We’ve made a call for our constituency leaders to bring out there people today, not just for the national convention, but to show our disgust and disappointment with this failed administration.  So I am very pleased to see that the numbers have come out.”


Notwithstanding the sweltering, mid-morning heat, the atmosphere was pleasant, as stalwarts of the opposition moved around greeting each other.  Beyond the convivial nature of the gathering was a stern message to the Briceño administration.


Tracy Panton

Tracy Panton, Area Representative, Albert

“The protest was really about the conditions of living that people are facing, and people are suffering, you know.  We know about the crippling cost of goods, food, fuel, you know, lack of access to healthcare, all these things.  People are frustrated and they’re tired and they want to send a message to the government that enough is enough.  So I am very pleased that our supporters came out today and certainly the supporters of Albert came out today because the message must be sent loud and clear to the government that things have to improve, the conditions of living must improve.”


To signal that message, the party has banded together.  This united front is the start of a new day, one in which the UDP is preparing to do battle with its political opponents in the months and years ahead.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, United Democratic Party

“The people fed up and people are not afraid any longer to come out and demonstrate and signal to the government that they are not happy with the performance of this government.  We made the call, they answered the call, they are here, we have a convention and this is another beginning, another step towards Belmopan in 2025 for the UDP and we feel good.”


Sunday’s U.D.P. endorsement convention also saw a clear and emphatic show of public support for the leadership of Shyne Barrow.  It culminated an eventful run-up that saw a number of interesting political developments.


Shyne Barrow

“I am very grateful, I am very humble by this vote of confidence to have the privilege to continue to lead the party into the next general elections and I will continue to be inclusive.  I will continue to be democratic, listen, I will continue to support my colleagues and give them all the resources that they need so that they can win in the next general elections, in the municipal elections.  I will continue the reform, we will have constitution reform for the party and we will continue to strengthen the party in all respects.”


The chairmanship of Senator Michael Peyrefitte was also formally approved by members of the party.


Michael Peyrefitte

“It’s about the work.  It’s about what the party needs.  It’s about dedication to the people and the party and the people in the party and the people of Belize.  It’s just about doing the work, it’s not about a title, it’s not about what you can get from it because certainly you don’t get anything from it like that, like how people would think.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love and the people at the NPC [National Party Council] decided that they wanted us to continue and they voted for us to be endorsed here at the national convention today.  So we’re ready, we’re ready to get on with the people’s business and the people are saying, “Let’s get it on, let’s get over those formalities and let’s get back to holding the PUP’s feet to the fire.”


Former Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Allen Chastanet, was the keynote speaker at the national convention.  Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow and Chastanet met at a previous event held by the International Democratic Union.


Allen Chastanet

Allen Chastanet, Former Prime Minister, St. Lucia

“So I’m really here representing both my party, United Workers Party in St. Lucia and also what we call the Caribbean Democratic Union which is a collection of likeminded political parties in the region.  I am here because I am so impressed with Shyne, as what he has done individually and his new entry into politics and I think that we all need a fresh perspective, given the new challenges that we are facing in the world.  And we genuinely believe that the values of the democratic movement in the Caribbean are very useful at this point.”


For Barrow, the respect between himself and former Prime Minister Chastanet is mutual.


Shyne Barrow

“We’ve both been able to get our party organized and so we share a lot.  He’s a former prime minister, so I lean on him for advice, for counsel and he leans on me as well because I am not a career politician so I see things from an outsider’s perspective which is what we need in order to progress and develop in our nation.  So I am very grateful to have his support, that he would come all the way here to tell the Belizean people that he fully believes that I should be the next prime minister of Belize.”


Isani Cayetano for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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